14 August 2000

Table of Contents

Seeding Power: The Other Problem with Genetically Modified Crops
Prof. Trewavas on organic
Transgenic Crops Leave Persistent Microbes In Soil
FDA scientists questions soy safety (Part One)
FDA scientists question soy safety (Part two)
The Other Side of Soy
Predicted CJD (mad cow) mortality in Britain
BSE (mad cow disease ) and scrapie
DNA machines
Soya alert over cancer and brain damage link
On Big Brother
Police Cybersnooping Proposal Open To Abuse

Top NextFront Page

Date: 8 Aug 2000 15:48:48 +0100
On 8 Aug 2000, at 14:58, Brian Levy wrote:

Seeding Power: The Other Problem with Genetically Modified Crops

The latest edition of The New Rules journal (circ.1000) featured an article entitled "Seeding Power: The Other Problem with Genetically Modified Crops". (Copyright 2000 ILSR)

"No one knows what effect genetically modified foods will eventually have on the environment or human health, but one thing is certain: the benefits of using GM seed will accrue mainly to a handful of corporations. The top-down ownership structure of biotechnology is in stark contrast with the burgeoning organic foods movement, which embraces independent farms and supports local economies..."

The full text of the article may be found on our website at: We are currently accepting inquiries for a reprint of this article. If you should wish to reprint the story, please telephone or email. A copy of our journal in print is also available upon request.


The Institute for Local Self-Reliance is a nonprofit educational and research organization that provides technical assistance and information on environmentally sound economic development strategies. The New Rules project is our policy program, focused on "designing rules as if community mattered". The scope of the project is necessarily broad, covering retail to finance electricity to environment, media to agriculture. We seek to identify and promote rules that strengthen local economies and promote local decision-making. The ag policy as part of the project, which is comprised of three elements:

  1. The New Rules Agriculture Website: A growing list of model policies that support independent family farmers. Includes rules on corporate ownership bans, feedlot regulations, anti-price discrimination laws, price reporting, country of origin labeling, agricultural cooperatives, and more. See our site at:

  2. The New Rules Journal: Past articles included detailed reporting on concentration in the hog industry, efforts to label foods by country of origin, and the implications of genetically modified crops for farmers. Subscription based, or view past issues on our website at: (Adobe Acrobat Reader required).

  3. Family Farm Rules E-Bulletin: Current news on the latest policies and programs that discourage agribusiness consolidation, favor the local, ensure fair producer prices, and democratize ownership of agricultural production. An occasional bulletin. To subscribe, email See past issues at:


Brian Levy

Brian D. Levy, Research Associate
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance
1313 5th St. SE, Suite 303, Minneapolis, MN 55414

Office: 612.379.3815    Fax: 612.379.3920
ILSR Home:
New Rules Project:

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 8 Aug 2000 18:13:43 +0100
From: "jcummins"

Prof. Trewavas on organic

Prof. Trewavas' References

Prof. Trewavas provided references that he seems to believe implicate "organic" practices in the use of manure. We all know that organic certification does not allow the use of manure but instead demands that only compost be used on crops sold as "organic". In the references provided by Trewavas there is no direct evidence that compost was a source of toxic E coli instead most of the studies implicated runoff from cow pastures or even human produce handlers.

Raw manure is used in North America but only by farmers who are not certified organic producers. It seems as if Prof. Trewavas is joining the agricultural producers who spray liquid manure on produce then ridiculing organic producers who employ compost.

Certainly the use of raw manure should be outlawed on any farm. However, organic producers have not allowed use of raw manure for many years. If Trewavas has evidence that compost spreads E coli 0157 let him bring that evidence forward. The repeated claim that people who eat raw vegetables or green butter live an "organic" lifestyle is scandalous and cheap.

Pof. Joe Cummins

Prof. Trewavas' References

AgBioView -

Dear All

You will have heard a great deal about the supposed non existence of organic food contamination by E.coli 0157 from the organic community and how Avery was not telling the truth, etc.

Well the following are alternative scientific references in part by the CDC to Avery's compilation.

I think this should finish the matter if we can get the organic community to bother to look at the data. However I do agree that there is no comparative data on the likelihood of contamination from organic or conventional. It remains a strong suspicion that emphasis on animal manure by the organic community is more likely to cause contamination but I think large amounts of data would be required to prove the point. However the cases which do occur indicate that organic or natural food is not necessarily the pristine product that organic supporters would like us to believe.


  1. Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention. Outbreak of Escherichia coli 0157-H7. Infections associated with drinking unpasteurised commercial apple juice, British Columbia, California, Colorado and Washington. October 1996. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 1996: 45;975.
  2. Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention. Outbreak of Escherichia coli 0157-H7. Infection and cryptosporidiosis associated with drinking unpasteurised apple cider, Connecticut and New York. October 1996. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 1997: 46; 4-8.
  3. This one of earlier interest. Besser RE Lett SM Weber JT et al. An outbreak of diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome from Escherichia coli 0157-H7 in fresh pressed apple cider JAMA 1993. 269; 2217- 2220.
  4. The following are on lettuce. I don't know whether any of these account for the 1996 statistics in the Avery CDC list. Davidson R. Proctor, P. Preston M et Investigation of a lettuce born Escherichia coli 0157-H7 outbreak in a hospital. IN
  5. Program and abstracts of the 36th Interscience conference on antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy: September 15-18, 1996; New Orleans La. Abstract J106;238.
  6. Ackers,M. Mahon B, Leahy E et al. An outbreak of Escherichia coli 0157-H7 infections associated with leaf lettuce consumption. J Infect Dis 1998. 177; 1588-1593.
  7. MerminJ. Mead P. Gensheimer K, Griffin P. Outbreak of Escherichia coli 0157-H7 infections among boy scouts in Maine. In: Program and abstracts of the 36th Interscience conference on Antimicrobial agents and Chemotherapy; September 15-18, 1996; New Orleans, La Abstract K44;257.
  8. HahnCG Snell M, Jue B et al. Escherichia coli 0157-H7 diarrhea outbreak due to contaminated salad, Idaho. 1995 In: Program and abstracts of the 45th Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service conference; April 22-26,1996. Atlanta, GA. page 18.
  9. Finally one from europe. Verotoxinogenic Citrobacter freundii associated with severe gastroenteritis and cases of hemolytic uraemic syndrome in a nursery school; green butter as the infectinon source. Schape, H. Prager, R, Streckel W, et al. Epidemiol Infect (1995) 114, 441-450. green butter is of course organic parsley butter.

There are others in the UK associated with drinking unpasteurised milk, eating vegetables from a manured garden (organic manure). But of course E. coli 0157 infections come from conventional food as well.


Anthony Trewavas FRS, Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology
Mayfield Road, University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh EH9 3JH, Scotland
Phone 44 (0)1316505328     Fax 44 (0)1316505392
email     web site

To view the web site simply click on the address

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 9 Aug 2000 08:49:22 +0100
From: "jcummins"

Transgenic Crops Leave Persistent Microbes In Soil

A reference for general interest. Microbial changes by transgenic crops may persist in the soil after transgenics are gone. How long to field trials persist?

2000 Molecular Ecology 9 (7) 881-890 © Blackwell Science Ltd.

Effect of crop rotation and soil cover on alteration of the soil microflora generated by the culture of transgenic plants producing opines

P. Oger, H. Mansouri and Y. Dessaux

The culture of transgenic Lotus corniculatus plants producing opines, which are bacterial growth substrates, leads to the selection of rhizospheric bacteria able to utilize these substrates. We have investigated the fate of the opine-utilizing community over time under different experimental conditions following elimination of selective pressure exerted by the transgenic plants.

These plants were removed from the soil, which was either left unplanted or replanted with wild-type L. corniculatus or wheat plants. The density of opine-utilizing bacteria in the fallow soils remained essentially unchanged throughout the experiment, regardless of the soil of origin (soil planted with wild-type or transgenic plants). When wild-type Lotus plants were used to replace their transgenic counterparts, only the bacterial populations able to utilize the opines were affected.

Long-term changes affecting the opine-utilizing bacterial community on Lotus roots was dependent upon the opine studied. The concentration of nopaline utilizers decreased, upon replacement of the transgenic plants, to a level similar to that of normal plants, while the concentration of mannopine utilizers decreased to levels intermediate between transgenic and normal plants.

These data indicate that:

  1. the opine-utilizing bacterial populations can be controlled in the rhizosphere via plant-exudate engineering;
  2. the interaction between the engineered plants and their root-associated micro-organisms is transgene specific; and
  3. alterations induced by the cultivation of transgenic plants may sometimes be persistent.

Furthermore, opine-utilizing bacterial populations can be controlled by crop rotation. Therefore, favouring the growth of a rhizobacterium of agronomic interest via an opine-based strategy appears feasible.

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 9 Aug 2000 11:09:31 +0100
from: (NLP Wessex)

Thanks to Richard & Valerie James in New Zealand for alerting us to the ABC News article below.

FDA scientists questions soy safety (Part One)

FDA scientists questions soy safety - but where is GM testing?

If this kind of thing is cropping up with research on normal soya which requires no special testing for release onto the market, how come the allegedly thorough testing with GM varieties has not shown any similar adverse effects on animal and human health?

This raises the question: "Is the right kind of testing on GM soy being done, or are the testing methods used not suited for picking up health effects?"

The adverse effects from normal soy claimed here should be showing up in GM soy as well if GM soy is really "substantially equivalent" to normal soy as claimed by food safety regulators around the world.

Because the GM testing appears not be successfully identifying these known problems, this situation would appear to be further evidence that GM soya has only been subject to superficial testing. If so what additional effects created by the genetic modification have also gone undetected?

This situation is especially significant because outstanding questions concerning the safety of normal soy appear to be arising even from within the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) itself. According to the ABC News report below soy safety questions from recent research have arisen in relation to a number of health problems including breast cancer in women, brain function in men, and developmental abnormalities in children.

According to the FDA scientists concerned: "There exists a significant body of animal data that demonstrates goitrogenic and even carcinogenic effects of soy products (cf., Kimura et al., 1976)." And much more....(see their letter to their own employer, the FDA, posted at the end of the first ABC article which includes a full exposition and a long list of published scientific papers).

No wonder no Government wants to do proper toxicity testing on GM soy. It could upset the whole soy multi-billion dollar apple cart, both GM and non-GM.

For more information on the lack of safety testing on GM soy see: "Where is the safety testing of GM soya?"

In the light of this evidence is it a true scientific statement to say: "There are no adverse health effects from GM soya"...?

Certainly these scientists from the FDA have not been willing to make such a statement in respect of normal soya - in fact they have clearly said something very contrary.

It seems apparent that much of the detailed testing which has now been done on normal soy (with negative results) has not been done on GM soy, and that therefore the GM testing is not worth the paper it is written on.

To make matters worse it is now legal in the US to label any kind of soy (GM or otherwise) as beneficial for reducing heart disease risk (see ABC story below), but illegal to label it as genetically modified.

God Bless America - land of the "fee".

The new labelling arrangements follow a petition submitted to the FDA by the American Soybean Association (ASA), whose corporate partners include the following biotechnology/agro-chemical companies - American Cyanamid, Bayer, Dow, Du Pont, Monsanto, Novartis and Zeneca ( ).

According to ASA President Mike Yost: "With this one change we couldn't have asked for a more favorable decision by FDA, one that will benefit U.S. and world consumers as well as U.S. soybean producers." (ASA News Release November 16, 1998 following the initial FDA approval.)

By contrast, in submitting its comments to the FDA on the new health-claim labelling arrangements for all soy the American Dietetic Association (ADA) warned:

"ADA assumes that both FDA and PTI have looked extensively at the literature regarding potential safety concerns such as allergenic reactions and possible toxicological effects of soy. While we recognize that there is limited research in this area, we urge FDA to consider any safety and toxicological issues prior to finalizing this rule."

In the light of the warnings made by its own scientific experts here are six questions that it would now be interesting for attornies and barristers to ask the FDA and other government regulators in courts of law around the world:

  1. "What is your understanding of the term 'the precautionary principle'?"

  2. "Are there any harmful health effects from non-genetically modified soy postulated or demonstrated as a result of experiments published in the scientific literature?"

  3. "Have all such experiments on the health effects of non-genetically modified soy also been carried out in relation to genetically modified soy?"

  4. "Is genetically modified soy 'substantially equivalent' to non-genetically modified soy?"

  5. "If you consider there to be equivalence, does that mean that any scientific findings on the health effects of non-genetically modified soy would also be applicable to genetically modified soy?"

  6. "On the basis of your answers to the previous questions, and any other scientific evidence that you are aware of, are you able to confirm that there are no harmful health effects from genetically modified soy?"

For more information on health research on soy, see: Soy Online Service Uncovering the truth about soy. NATURAL LAW PARTY WESSEX

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 9 Aug 2000 11:56:54 +0100

Some eye-opening info enclosed.


FDA scientists question soy safety (Part two)

Posted by ABC NEWS at:

Scientists Protest Soy Approval In Unusual Letter, FDA Experts Lay Out Concerns

Researchers Daniel Doerge and Daniel Sheehan, two of the Food and Drug Administration's experts on soy, signed a letter of protest, which points to studies that show a link between soy and health problems in certain animals. The two say they tried in vain to stop the FDA approval of soy because it could be misinterpreted as a broader general endorsement beyond benefits for the heart. The text of the letter follows.
Public Health Service
Food and Drug Administration
National Center For Toxicological Research
Jefferson, Ark. 72079-9502
Daniel M. Sheehan, Ph.D.
Director, Estrogen Base Program
Division of Genetic and Reproductive Toxicology
Daniel R. Doerge, Ph.D.
Division of Biochemical Toxicology

February 18, 1999

Dockets Management Branch (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
Rockville, MD 20852

To whom it may concern,

We are writing in reference to Docket # 98P-0683; "Food Labeling: Health Claims; Soy Protein and Coronary Heart Disease." We oppose this health claim because there is abundant evidence that some of the isoflavones found in soy, including genistein and equol, a metabolize of daidzen, demonstrate toxicity in estrogen sensitive tissues and in the thyroid. This is true for a number of species, including humans. Additionally, the adverse effects in humans occur in several tissues and, apparently, by several distinct mechanisms.

Genistein is clearly estrogenic; it possesses the chemical structural features necessary for estrogenic activity (; Sheehan and Medlock, 1995; Tong, et al, 1997; Miksicek, 1998) and induces estrogenic responses in developing and adult animals and in adult humans. In rodents, equol is estrogenic and acts as an estrogenic endocrine disruptor during development (Medlock, et al, 1995a,b). Faber and Hughes (1993) showed alterations in LH regulation following developmental treatment with genistein.

Thus, during pregnancy in humans, isoflavones per se could be a risk factor for abnormal brain and reproductive tract development. Furthermore, pregnant Rhesus monkeys fed genistein had serum estradiol levels 50- 100 percent higher than the controls in three different areas of the maternal circulation (Harrison, et al, 1998). Given that the Rhesus monkey is the best experimental model for humans, and that a women's own estrogens are a very significant risk factor for breast cancer, it is unreasonable to approve the health claim until complete safety studies of soy protein are conducted.

Of equally grave concern is the finding that the fetuses of genistein fed monkeys had a 70 percent higher serum estradiol level than did the controls (Harrison, et al, 1998). Development is recognized as the most sensitive life stage for estrogen toxicity because of the indisputable evidence of a very wide variety of frank malformations and serious functional deficits in experimental animals and humans.

In the human population, DES exposure stands as a prime example of adverse estrogenic effects during development. About 50 percent of the female offspring and a smaller fraction of male offspring displayed one or more malformations in the reproductive tract, as well as a lower prevalence (about 1 in a thousand) of malignancies. In adults, genistein could be a risk factor for a number of estrogen-associated diseases.

Even without the evidence of elevated serum estradiol levels in Rhesus fetuses, potency and dose differences between DES and the soy isoflavones do not provide any assurance that the soy protein isoflavones per se will be without adverse effects.

First, calculations, based on the literature, show that doses of soy protein isoflavones used in clinical trials which demonstrated estrogenic effects were as potent as low but active doses of DES in Rhesus monkeys (Sheehan, unpublished data).

Second, we have recently shown that estradiol shows no threshold in an extremely large dose-response experiment (Sheehan, et al, 1999), and we subsequently have found 31 dose-response curves for hormone-mimicking chemicals that also fail to show a threshold (Sheehan, 1998a).

Our conclusions are that no dose is without risk; the extent of risk is simply a function of dose. These two features support and extend the conclusion that it is inappropriate to allow health claims for soy protein isolate.

Additionally, isoflavones are inhibitors of the thyroid peroxidase which makes T3 and T4. Inhibition can be expected to generate thyroid abnormalities, including goiter and autoimmune thyroiditis. There exists a significant body of animal data that demonstrates goitrogenic and even carcinogenic effects of soy products (cf., Kimura et al., 1976).

Moreover, there are significant reports of goitrogenic effects from soy consumption in human infants (cf., Van Wyk et al., 1959; Hydovitz, 1960; Shepard et al., 1960; Pinchers et al., 1965; Chorazy et al., 1995) and adults (McCarrison, 1933; Ishizuki, et al., 1991). Recently, we have identified genistein and daidzein as the goitrogenic isoflavonoid components of soy and defined the mechanisms for inhibition of thyroid peroxidase (TPO)-catalyzed thyroid hormone synthesis in vitro (Divi et al., 1997; Divi et al., 1996).

The observed suicide inactivation of TPO by isoflavones, through covalent binding to TPO, raises the possibility of neoantigen formation and because anti-TPO is the principal autoantibody present in auto immune thyroid disease. This hypothetical mechanism is consistent with the reports of Fort et al. (1986, 1990) of a doubling of risk for autoimmune thyroiditis in children who had received soy formulas as infants compared to infants receiving other forms of milk.

The serum levels of isoflavones in infants receiving soy formula that are about five times higher than in women receiving soy supplements who show menstrual cycle disturbances, including an increased estradiol level in the follicular phase (Setchell, et al, 1997). Assuming a dose-dependent risk, it is unreasonable to assert that the infant findings are irrelevant to adults who may consume smaller amounts of isoflavones. Additionally, while there is an unambiguous biological effect on menstrual cycle length (Cassidy, et al, 1994), it is unclear whether the soy effects are beneficial or adverse.

Furthermore, we need to be concerned about transplacental passage of isoflavones as the DES case has shown us that estrogens can pass the placenta. No such studies have been conducted with genistein in humans or primates. As all estrogens which have been studied carefully in human populations are two-edged swords in humans (Sheehan and Medlock, 1995; Sheehan, 1997), with both beneficial and adverse effects resulting from the administration of the same estrogen, it is likely that the same characteristic is shared by the isoflavones. The animal data is also consistent with adverse effects in humans.

Finally, initial data fi-om a robust (7,000 men) long-term (30+ years) prospective epidemiological study in Hawaii showed that Alzheimer's disease prevalence in Hawaiian men was similar to European-ancestry Americans and to Japanese (White, et al, 1996a). In contrast, vascular dementia prevalence is similar in Hawaii and Japan and both are higher than in European-ancestry Americans. This suggests that common ancestry or environmental factors in Japan and Hawaii are responsible for the higher prevalence of vascular dementia in these locations. Subsequently, this same group showed a significant dose-dependent risk (up to 2.4 fold) for development of vascular dementia and brain atrophy from consumption of tofu, a soy product rich in isoflavones (White, et al, 1996b).

This finding is consistent with the environmental causation suggested from the earlier analysis, and provides evidence that soy (tofu) phytoestrogens causes vascular dementia. Given that estrogens are important for maintenance of brain function in women; that the male brain contains aromatase, the enzyme that converts testosterone to estradiol; and that isoflavones inhibit this enzymatic activity (Irvine, 1998), there is a mechanistic basis for the human findings.

Given the great difficulty in discerning the relationship between exposures and long latency adverse effects in the human population (Sheehan, 1998b), and the potential mechanistic explanation for the epidemiological findings, this is an important study. It is one of the more robust, well-designed prospective epidemiological studies generally available. We rarely have such power in human studies, as well as a potential mechanism, and thus the results should be interpreted in this context.

Does the Asian experience provide us with reassurance that isoflavones are safe? A review of several examples lead to the conclusion "Given the parallels with herbal medicines with respect to attitudes, monitoring deficiencies, and the general difficulty of detecting toxicities with long Iatencies, I am unconvinced that the long history of apparent safe use of soy products can provide confidence that they are indeed without risk." (Sheehan, 1998b).

It should also be noted that the claim on p. 62978 that soy protein foods are GRAS is in conflict with the recent return by CFSAN to Archer Daniels Midland of a petition for GRAS status for soy protein because of deficiencies in reporting adverse effects in the petition. Thus GRAS status has not been granted. Linda Kahl can provide you with details. It would seem appropriate for FDA to speak with a single voice regarding soy protein isolate.

Taken together, the findings presented here are self-consistent and demonstrate that genistein and other isoflavones can have adverse effects in a variety of species, including humans. Animal studies are the front line in evaluating toxicity, as they predict, with good accuracy, adverse effects in humans. For the isoflavones, we additionally have evidence of two types of adverse effects in humans, despite the very few studies that have addressed this subject. While isoflavones may have beneficial effects at some ages or circumstances, this cannot be assumed to be true at all ages.

Isoflavones are like other estrogens in that they are two-edged swords, conferring both benefits and risk (Sheehan and Medlock, 1995; Sheehan, 1997). The health labeling of soy protein isolate for foods needs to considered just as would the addition of any estrogen or goitrogen to foods, which are bad ideas.

Estrogenic and goitrogenic drugs are regulated by FDA, and are taken under a physician's care. Patients are informed of risks, and are monitored by their physicians for evidence of toxicity. There are no similar safeguards in place for foods, so the public will be put at potential risk from soy isoflavones in soy protein isolate without adequate warning and information.

Finally, NCTR is currently conducting a long-term multigeneration study of genistein administered in feed to rats. The analysis of the dose range-finding studies are near-complete or complete now. As preliminary data, which is still confidential, maybe relevant to your decision, I suggest you contact Dr. Barry Delclos at the address on the letterhead, or email him.

Daniel M. Sheehan
Daniel R. Doerge

cc: Dr. Bernard Schwetz, Director, NCTR
Dr. Barry Delclos


  1. Cassidy, A, Bingham, S, and Setchell, KDR. Biological effects of soy protein rich in isoflavones on the menstrual cycle of premenopausal women. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 60, 333- 340, 1994.
  2. Chorazy, P.A., Himelhoch, S., Hopwood, N, J., Greger, N. G., and Postellon, D.C. Persistent hypothyroidism in an infant receiving a soy formula: Case report and review of the literature. Pediatrics 148-150, 1995.
  3. Divi, R. L., Chang, H. C., and Doerge, D.R. Identification, characterization and mechanisms of anti-thyroid activity of isoflavones from soybean. Biochem. Pharrnacol. 54, 1087-1096, 1997.
  4. Divi, R.L. and Doerge, D.R. Inhibition of thyroid peroxidase by dietary flavonoids. Chem. Res. Toxicol. 9, 16-23, 1996.
  5. Levy, JR, Faber, FA,Ayyash, L, and Hughes, CL. The effect of prenatal exposure to phytoestrogen genistein on sexual differentiation in rats. Proc. Sot. Exp. Biol. Med. 208, 60-66, 1995.
  6. Fort, P., Lanes, R., Dahlem, S., Reeker, B., Weyman-Daum, M., Pugliese, M., and Lifshitz, F. Breast feeding and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in children. J. Am. Coil. Nutr. 5,439-441, 1986.
  7. Fort, P, Moses, N., Fasano, M, Goldberg, T, and Lifshitz, F. Breast and soy-formula feedings in early infancy and the prevalence of autoimmune thyroid disease in children. J. Am. Coil. Nutr. 9, 164-167, 1990.
  8. Harrison, R. M.. Phillippi, P. P., and Henson, M.C. Effects of genistein on estradiol production in pregnant Rhesus monkeys (A4acaca Mulatta). Am. J. Primatology 45, 183, 1998.
  9. Hydovitz, JD, Occurrence of goiter in an infant on a soy diet. New Eng. J. Med. 262, 351-353, 1960.
  10. Irvine, CHG, Fitzpatrick, MG, and Alexander, SL. Phytoestrogens in soy-based infant foods: Concentrations, daily intake, and possible biological effects. Proc. Sot. Exp. Biol. Med. 217,247-253, 1998.
  11. Ishizuki, Y., Hirooka, Y., Murata, Y., and Togasho, K. The effects on the thyroid gland of soybeans administered experimentally to healthy subjects. Nippon Naibunpi gakkai Zasshi 67,622-629, 1991.
  12. Kimura, S, Suwa, J, Ito, B and Sate, H. Development of malignant goiter by defatted soybean with iodine-free diet in rats. Gann 67, 763-765, 1976.
  13. McCarrison, R. The goitrogenic action of soybean and groundnut. Indian J. Med. Res. 21, 179-181, 1933.
  14. Medlock, K. L., Branham, W. S., Sheehan, D.M. The effects of phytoestrogens on neonatal rat uterine growth and development. Proc. Sot. Exp. Biol. Med. 208:307-313, 1995.
  15. Medlock, K.L., Branham, W. S., Sheehan, D.M. Effects of coumestrol and equol on the developing reproductive tract of the rat. Proc. Sot. Exp. Biol. Med., 208:67-1, 1995. Miksicek, RJ. Estrogenic flavonoids: Structural requirements for biological activity. Proc. Sot. Exp. Biol. Med. 208,44-50, 1995.
  16. Pinchers, A, MacGillivray, MH, Crawford, JD, and Freeman, AG. Thyroid refractoriness in an athyreotic cretin fed soybean formula, New Eng. J. Med., 265, 83-87, 1965.
  17. Setchell, KDR, Zimmer-Nechemias, L, Cai, J, and Heubi, JE. Exposure of infants to phyto-estrogens from soy-based infant formula. Lancet, 350,23-27, 1997.
  18. Sheehan, D.M. Literature analysis of no-threshold dose-response curves for endocrine disrupters. Teratology, 57,219, 1998a.
  19. Sheehan, D.M. Herbal medicines and phytoestrogens: risklbenefit considerations. Proc. Sot. Exp. Biol. Med., 217,379-385, 1998b.
  20. Sheehan, D.M. Isoflavone content of breast milk and soy formulas: Benefits and risks. Clin. Chem., 43:850, 1997.
  21. Sheehan, D.M. and Medlock, K.L. Current issues regarding phytoestrogens. Polyphenols Actualities, 13:22-24, 1995.
  22. Sheehan, D. M., Willingham, E., Gaylor, D., Bergeron, J. M., and Crews, D. No threshold dose for oestradiol-induced sex reversal of turtle embryos: How little is too much? Environmental Health Perspectives, February, 1999 issue, in press.
  23. Shepard, TH, Pyne, GE, Kirschvink, JF, and McLean, CM. Soybean goiter. New Eng. J. Med. 262, 1099-1103, 1960.
  24. Tong, W, Perkins, R, Xing, L, Welsh, WJ, and Sheehan, DM. QSAR models for binding of estrogenic compounds to estrogen receptor alpha and beta subtypes. Endo. 138, 4022- 4025, 1997. Van Wyk, JJ, Arnold, MB, Wynn, J, and Pepper, F. The effects of a soybean product on thyroid function in humans, Pediatrics 24,752-760, 1959.
  25. White, L, Petrovitch, H, Ross, GW, and Masaki. Association of mid-life consumption of tofu with late life cognitive impairment and dementia: The
  26. Honolulu-Asia Aging Study. The Neurobiol. of Aging, 17 (suppl 4), S 121, 1996a.
  27. White, L, Petrovich, H, Ross, GW, Masaki, KH, Abbot, RD, Teng, EL, Rodriguez, BL, Blanchette, PL, Havlik, RJ, Wergowske, G, Chiu, D, Foley, DJ, Murdaugh, C, and Curb, JD. Prevalence of dementia in older Japanese-American men in Hawaii, JAMA 276, 955-960, 1996b.

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 9 Aug 2000 11:09:31 +0100
from: (NLP Wessex)

The Other Side of Soy

By Brian Ross and Richard D. Allyn

Scientists Concerned Over Potential Health Risks
Debate Over Soy Infant Formula
Other Health Concerns

Scientists Concerned Over Potential Health Risks

Since last year's FDA approval of certain soy products as good for the heart, grocery stores have been inundated with a variety of soy-based goods. Click on the image to watch video of the report on the controversy over their health benefits. (

June 9th: From tofu and tacos to burgers and baby formula, soy products have swept the nation as a healthy source of high protein, with a reputation for being all natural and all good.

But a 20/20 investigation has found that amid all of this praise, some scientists are now challenging this popular wisdom, and suggesting there may be a downside to this "miracle food." "The safety issues are largely unanswered," says Daniel Doerge, a research scientist for the Food and Drug Administration and an expert on soy.

New studies have raised questions over whether the natural ingredients in soy might increase the risk of breast cancer in some women, affect brain function in men and lead to hidden developmental abnormalities in infants.

This unresolved scientific debate continues to develop. Just last October, soy enjoyed a huge boost when the FDA issued a health claim, concluding that soy may lower both cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.

But two of the FDA's experts on soy – Doerge and his colleague, Daniel Sheehan – have stepped forward to criticize their own agency's claim and even attempted in vain to stop the recommendation. Their main concern: that the claim could be misinterpreted as a much broader endorsement for soy protein, beyond benefits solely for the heart.

Signing a highly unusual letter of protest to their employer, Doerge and Sheehan pointed to research that demonstrates a link between soy and fertility problems in certain animals. (You can find a copy of the letter in the related stories section on the right-hand column.) [posted at bottom of this message - NLPWessex] "The animal data is a clear indication for adverse effects, the potential for adverse effects in humans," Doerge says to 20/20.

Debate Over Soy Infant Formula

The core of their concern rests with the chemical make-up of soy: in addition to all the nutrients and protein, exists a natural chemical that mimics estrogen, the female hormone. Some studies in animals show that this chemical can alter sexual development. And in fact, two glasses of soy milk a day, over the course of a month, contains enough of the chemical to change the timing of a woman's menstrual cycle. "We are doing a large uncontrolled and unmonitored experiment on human infants," Sheehan says. "We're exposing infants to the chemicals in soy infant formula that are known to have adverse effects in experimental animals, and we have never looked in the human population to see if they have adverse effects."

The infant formula industry, along with some scientists, have blasted this criticism of soy, calling it "scientifically unjustified claims that could unduly frighten thousands of parents."

Kenneth Setchell, a pediatrics professor at Children's Hospital in Cincinnati and a leading advocate of soy, contends that scientific studies on soy show promise in fighting a number of diseases and that adverse effects seen in animals do not apply to humans.

"There have been literally hundreds of thousands of infants that have been raised on those soy formulas," Setchell says to 20/20. "Some of those infants would be well into their late 30s, early 40s now. And you know, I don't see evidence of tremendous numbers of cases where there are abnormalities."

The debate over soy formula for infants poses a major issue throughout the country. Soy infant formula is an undeniable lifesaver for the 3 to 4 percent of babies who are allergic to or can not digest cow's milk.

However, heavy marketing of soy infant formula has led to its much wider use, extending well beyond just those infants who are allergic to 25 percent of the entire formula market. "My careful and considered professional opinion is that it makes more sense not to needlessly expose your baby to these compounds," says Dr. Claude Hughes, director of the Women's Health Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He adds that while breast-feeding is preferred, mothers who don't breast-feed should use a milk-based formula and choose soy as a last resort.

Other Health Concerns

Aside from his concerns about soy's health effects on infants, Hughes has also raised potentially more serious questions about soy and breast cancer. In some cases, soy is thought to protect against breast cancer. But some studies now indicate, for other women, the chemicals found in soy may enhance a widely found kind of estrogen-feeding breast cancer.

"It can speed up divisions of those cells that are already cancer cells that depend on estrogen for their growth," Hughes tells 20/20. The multibillion dollar soy industry has insisted that the health benefits of soy significantly outweigh any potential risk.

Soy – consumed in the form of tofu – may have a connection to accelerated aging in the brain, according to a three decade-long study begun by the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Lon White of NIH says that he found greater brain aging and shrinkage among elderly men – all Japanese-American and living in Hawaii – who had eaten tofu at least twice a week during middle age.

"Their brains, looking at them in terms of how their brain functions, memory cognition, their brains seemed to be showing an exaggeration of the usual patterns we see in aging," White says.

The soy industry countered that White's study only shows an association between tofu consumption and brain aging, does not prove cause and effect and is in conflict with research on Asian populations and animals.

While the scientific research on soy is still emerging and is often contradictory, there are now some serious questions being raised about this miracle food, and some of its staunchest defenders acknowledge that these questions need to be answered.

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 9 Aug 2000 22:57:25 +0100
From: "jcummins"

Predicted CJD (mad cow) mortality in Britain

The perdicted mortality from CJD in Britain is up to two for each mad cow or as much as 136,000. Some thought is needed about the treatment facilities for the deluge.

Nature 406, 583 - 584 (2000) © Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

Predicted vCJD mortality in Great Britain

Azra C. Ghani, Neil M. Ferguson, Christl A. Donnelly & Roy M. Anderson

There is continued speculation about the likely number of cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) that will occur in Great Britain in the wake of the BSE epidemic in cattle and in light of a recent cluster of vCJD cases in Leicestershire, England. We show here that the current mortality data are consistent with between 63 and 136,000 cases among the population known to have a susceptible genotype (about 40% of the total population), with on average less than two cases of vCJD arising from the consumption of one infected bovine.

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 9 Aug 2000 23:05:05 +0100
From: "jcummins"

BSE (mad cow disease ) and scrapie

Scrapie outbreaks were observed in Quebec , Canada during the BSE outbreak in Britain. That outbreak deserves extensive study because BSE was not observed in North America but you can never tell what the animals were fed and where it originated.

Nature 406, 584 - 585 (2000) © Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

Encephalopathies: Scrapie in Britain during the BSE years

Mike B. Gravenor, D. R. Cox, Linda J. Hoinville, Alies Hoek & Angela R. Mclean

The experimental transmission of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to sheep raised the possibility that some sheep in the United Kingdom could have been infected during the 1980s after exposure to BSE-contaminated feed. In contrast to new diseases that have appeared in a number of feline species and wild ungulates, the symptoms of BSE in sheep are very similar to another transmissible spongiform encephalopathy called scrapie, which has been endemic in Britain for over 200 years.

Although so far no cases of BSE in sheep have been found, these may have been misdiagnosed as scrapie. Here we present data describing the historical changes in scrapie incidence, and find no evidence for a peak in scrapie incidence before, during or after the BSE outbreak, making it unlikely that a substantial epidemic of BSE has occurred in the sheep population.

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 9 Aug 2000 23:09:44 +0100
From: "jcummins"

DNA machines

DNA tweezers might be useful for serving nanolobsters.

Nature 406, 605 - 608 (2000) © Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

A DNA-fuelled molecular machine made of DNA

Bernard Yurke, Andrew J. Turberfield, Allen P. Mills, Friedrich C. Simmel & Jennifer L. Neumann

Molecular recognition between complementary strands of DNA allows construction on a nanometre length scale. For example, DNA tags may be used to organize the assembly of colloidal particles, and DNA templates can direct the growth of semiconductor nanocrystals and metal wires. As a structural material in its own right, DNA can be used to make ordered static arrays of tiles, linked rings and polyhedra.

The construction of active devices is also possible-for example, a nanomechanical switch, whose conformation is changed by inducing a transition in the chirality of the DNA double helix. Melting of chemically modified DNA has been induced by optical absorption, and conformational changes caused by the binding of oligonucleotides or other small groups have been shown to change the enzymatic activity of ribozymes. Here we report the construction of a DNA machine in which the DNA is used not only as a structural material, but also as 'fuel'. The machine, made from three strands of DNA, has the form of a pair of tweezers. It may be closed and opened by addition of auxiliary strands of 'fuel' DNA; each cycle produces a duplex DNA waste product.

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 13 Aug 2000 04:25:10 +0100

Special report: what's wrong with our food?

Soya alert over cancer and brain damage link

by Antony Barnett, public affairs editor
The Observer, Sunday August 13, 2000,6903,353660,

A health warning was sounded last night over the dangers of eating soya after two senior American government scientists revealed that chemicals in the product could increase the risk of breast cancer in women, brain damage in men and abnormalities in infants.

The disclosure, which sent shockwaves through the multi-billion dollar food industry, came after the scientists decided to break ranks with colleagues in the US Food and Drug Administration and oppose its decision last year to approve a health claim that soya reduced the risk of heart disease. They wrote an internal protest letter warning of 28 studies revealing toxic effects of soya.

In an interview with The Observer, one of the scientists, Daniel Doerge, an expert on soya, said: 'We have very real worries that this health claim will be used by the industry as an endorsement of much wider health benefits to soya beyond the heart. Research has shown a clear link between soya and the potential for adverse effects in humans.'

BSE and other health scares related to meat have led to rocketing sales of soya-related products in Britain. But it is not just vegetarian foods such as tofu that use soya. It is a key ingredient in products from meat sausages and fish fingers to salad creams and breakfast cereals.

The concerns of Doerge and fellow FDA researcher Daniel Sheehan focus on chemicals in soya known as isoflavones which have effects similar to the female hormone oestrogen.

While these chemicals may help to prevent a range of conditions including high cholesterol, they also lead to health problems in animals including altering sexual development of foetuses and causing thyroid disorders. Although soy is thought to protect against breast cancer, some studies show that chemicals in soya may increase the chances of breast cancer which uses oestrogen-type hormones for growth.

Their letter to the FDA seen by The Observer states: 'There is abundant evidence that some of the isoflavones found in soy demonstrate toxicity in oestrogen sensitive tissues and in the thyroid. Additionally, the adverse effects in humans occur in several tissues.

'During pregnancy in humans, isoflavones per se could be a risk factor for abnormal brain and reproductive tract development.'

This will frighten mothers who increasingly use soya milk for babies. Doerge said: 'They are exposing their children to chemicals which we know have adverse effects in animals. It's like doing a large uncontrolled and unmonitored experiment on infants.'

The soya industry insists that most research shows the health benefits of soya outweigh risks and that adverse effects seen in animals do not apply to humans.

Richard Barnes, European director of the US Soy Bean Association, said: 'Millions of people around the world have been eating soya for years and have shown no signs of abnormalities or disorders.'

Useful links: Institute of Food Research information sheet on soya

The full soy story:

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 13 Aug 2000 19:51:35 +0100
From: Carol

On Big Brother< Cyber Sleuth, e-mail spying, etc.

Here's the nightmarish answer to your query in 2 messages. (For additional U.S. info, see, click on Archive Main Page, select the July 24, 2000 issue. The article is entitled "Watching the Detectives" by Brian Quinton.)

Date: Sun, 13 Aug 2000 14:14:09 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Oscar "
Subject: The spy in your server

The spy in your server

Thursday August 10, 2000

Governments all over the world have suddenly become embroiled in controversy about electronic surveillance of the internet. In the United States, a political storm has arisen over a new FBI internet tapping system codenamed Carnivore. In Britain, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Act has just extended telephone-tapping powers to cover internet service providers (ISPs), and allows the government to arrange indiscriminate tapping or email interception for foreign police forces and security agencies.

In the Netherlands, the Dutch security service BVD admitted two weeks ago that it has been collecting emails sent abroad by companies. In the Hague, laws are being prepared to allow the Justice Ministry to tap into email and subscriber records, scan messages and mobile phone calls, and track users' movements.

The Australian government has passed laws allowing security agents to attack and modify computers secretly to obtain information. Many other governments have similar schemes in the pipeline.

These developments are no coincidence but the direct result of secret planning over seven years by an international co-ordinating group set up by the FBI, after Congress twice refused to extend its telephone tapping powers for digital networks. Under the innocuous title of the International Law Enforcement Telecommunications Seminar (ILETS), the group has met annually to plan for and lobby to make telecommunications systems "interception-friendly".

ILETS excluded lawyers and industry specialists who might have advised on the arrangements to protect privacy and human rights, or on the feasi bility and cost of the intelligence officers' wish list of interception requirements. As a result, the laws based on their recommendations have repeatedly caused controversy.

The work of ILETS first came to light in late 1997, when a British researcher, Tony Bunyan, revealed collaboration between EU staff and the FBI for many years. Details of plans to compel ISPs all over the world to install secret internet interception "black boxes" in their premises appeared in Online last year.

A month ago, the European Parliament appointed 36 MEPs to lead a year-long investigation into Echelon - the codename for a mainly US system for monitoring traffic on commercial communications satellites. Echelon has become common parlance for the worldwide electronic eavesdropping or signals intelligence (Sigint) network run by the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) together with the US National Security Agency (NSA). The inquiry will ask if the rights of European citizens are adequately protected and ascertain whether European industry is put at risk by the global interception of communications.

French politicians and lawyers have taken the lead in accusing the US and Britain of using their electronic intelligence networks to win business away from foreign rivals. US politicians have riposted that France runs a worldwide electronic intelligence system of its own - "Frenchelon", based at Domme, near Sarlat in the Dordogne, and includes an eavesdropping station in New Caledonia in the Pacific (see ).

Electronic eavesdropping has become a battleground between the US and Russia. The Russian-American Trust and Cooperation Act of 2000, passed on July 19, stops President Clinton rescheduling or writing off billions of dollars of Russian debts unless a Russian spy base in Cuba is "permanently closed".

This base at Lourdes, located on leased land near Havana, was the former Soviet Union's most important intelligence facility. It uses Echelon-type systems to collect data from telephone calls and satellite links covering the US.

Lourdes allegedly provides "between 60% and 70% of all Russian intelligence data about the US". A defector has said that spying from Lourdes has grown dramatically following an order by Boris Yeltsin to step up economic and technological espionage against the west.

The White House wants to stop the campaign to close Lourdes because other countries might then ask the US to close down its identical bases. Documents suggest the US would particularly fear the Lourdes effect spreading to Britain, Germany and Australia, where the NSA operates large sites. Its station at Menwith Hill, Yorkshire, is the largest electronic intelligence base in the world.

The US is not alone in this spying. By the end of the year, the Government Technical Assistance Centre (GTAC) will have begun operations from inside MI5's headquarters at Thames House, Millbank, England. Its primary purpose will be to break codes used for private email or to protect files on personal computers. It will also receive and hold private keys to codes which British computer users may be compelled to give to the government, under the RIP Act.

Development of GTAC has been pioneered by the Home Office's Encryption Co-ordination Unit, which says that the centre will "provide the capability to produce plain text/images/audio from lawfully intercepted communications and lawfully seized computer media which are encrypted". The Home Office has not confirmed reports that GTAC will also be the collecting point for intercepted internet communications relayed from the "sniffer" boxes to be installed inside British ISPs.

The cost of building GTAC, said to be 25m£, is likely to include the price of ultra-fast super-computers, of the type previously used only to break Soviet codes and attack other special military targets. Code breakers from the communications intelligence agency GCHQ will be seconded to work at GTAC.

GCHQ has used sophisticated computers for many years to examine foreign or "external" messages and phone calls, as part of the worldwide intelligence network operated with other English-speaking countries. The key part of this system utilises computers called Dictionaries, which hold lists of thousands of target names, addresses and key words. They are used to select messages of interest, while discarding the majority of communications.

GCHQ was not normally permitted to encroach on domestic communications. Now the RIP Act says that as many domestic internet communications travel on the same "trunks" as external communications, GCHQ will be allowed to trawl through these messages without restriction.

Another limitation, which had prevented the direct targeting of people in Britain by GCHQ without specific authorisation has also been dropped. The Home Secretary has been given powers under Section 16 (3) of the Act to sign an "overriding" warrant every three months. This will allow general surveillance without the need for individual warrants.

This will apply to "serious crime", which can include organising demonstrations that may affect public order. The government has offered no justification for its willingness to allow GCHQ to intrude on domestic political and policing matters. The RIP act will also allow any agency nominated by the Home Secretary to tap into the addresses of emails sent and received (though not their content) without a warrant.

Caspar Bowden, whose lobbying organisation, the Foundation for Information Policy Research, FIPR, helped to bring some important changes to the RIP Act, believes that letting Dictionary type computers carry out broad-ranging surveillance on much internal UK traffic will break the new Human Rights Act.

The FBI has just been granted funds for an $85m electronic surveillance programme called Digital Storm. This foresees the quadrupling of telephone tapping in the US over the next decade, because of the convenience of digital processing and the automated delivery of intercepted messages and conversations to FBI agents.

The FBI hopes to build in automated transcription and translation systems. According to its budget application for the next US fiscal year, a related programme called Casa de Web will include central computer archives for intercepted audio and data reports. It will also provide "analytic tools for automated speaker identification, text key word spotting, and voice key word spotting".

The existence of Carnivore, the FBI tapping system, was revealed three months ago as the result of a lawsuit between a US ISP and federal marshals, who demanded that the ISP wire a Carnivore box into its network. The FBI initially wanted to install its own version of a commercial "sniffer" programme called Etherpeek. Then it turned up with Carnivore and a court order to install it.

The FBI claims there are only 20 Carnivores, and that they have been used only 25 times in the last 18 month. But the system is so controversial that the US Congress held special hearings two weeks ago. A judge has ordered the FBI to answer requests for details made under the Freedom of Information Act.

Carnivore consists of a laptop computer and communications interface cards. It runs a packet sniffer programme to select the data it wants from inside the ISP local network. According to Marcus Thomas, head of the FBI's Cyber Technology Section, they are PCs using proprietary software and acting as a "specialized sniffer".

The bureau claims that although Carnivore's hardware sees all the traffic passing through the ISP where it is installed, its software looks only at the origin and the destination of each internet packet. If the addresses correspond with those specifically authorised in a court order, then the information and/or the contents are extracted and forwarded to the FBI. The agency claims no other data is recorded or examined.

But US computer experts do not believe this is possible. For example, many ISPs dynamically allocate internet addresses to their customers. This means that every time you dial in to your ISP, you will use a different internet address. Unless Carnivore is also intercepting this type of data, it cannot work.

The experts have asked the FBI to reveal the source code of Carnivore. The FBI has refused, but says it will arrange a "privacy audit". US Attorney General Janet Reno has publicly regretted the woodenheaded selection of the codename Carnivore. She says it will soon be changed to a less threatening name.

Despite the power of systems such as Echelon or Carnivore, they face many practical difficulties in conducting the type of extensive surveillance that some people fear.

The risk they pose to civil liberties has often been questioned because of the simple techniques that criminals or terrorists can use to outrun surveillance.

Setting up new internet accounts and email addresses to use for a few days or weeks takes barely a minute to do, yet can limit or defeat law enforcement or intelligence targeting.

For the ordinary computer user who wants their email and web surfing activities to regain at least the same level of privacy enjoyed by ordinary letters, the best and probably the only tool to use is a system called Freedom.

Pioneered by the Canadian-based Zero Knowledge company, Freedom uses multiple encrypted links to carry every kind of internet traffic. The first step is a secure connection to a local ISP running a Freedom server. Several are now operating in Britain. Your message, re-encrypted each time it travels, is passed among one or more Freedom servers before being inserted onto the internet at a distant location. The system used means that no one, including Zero Knowledge itself and the ISPs you use, knows what messages are being sent or who is sending them.

For those less worried about intelligence agencies but infuriated by the privacy-destroying habits of some websites and internet companies, the American-based Junkbusters group offers an excellent free tool which stops unwarranted data collection and also limits the time-wasting effects of downloading of advertising material.

Systems like Carnivore and the black boxes, which MI5 and the police want to install soon in British ISPs, are based on internet technologies used every day by network managers and trouble-shooters.

Packet sniffers utilise the fact that all the traffic being handled by an ISP will travel on one or more very high-speed data links. These typically handle hundreds or even thousands of megabits of data every second.

Everyone's data travels on these shared links, in the form of datagrams, or packets of data. Each packet contains details of the sender and the intended destination of the data packet. In principle, this information can be used to select only the data being sent to or received by the target of a government approved warrant.

But the ISP has no way of knowing how much data is being extracted from their clients' private messages. It all depends on how the software is programmed, and this is kept secret.

One program used by the FBI to tap email is Etherpeek, which can be programmed to select any type of data from an internet data stream. Its manufacturers say it can "capture all conversations on a network segment, much like a tele phone tap". It costs less than $1,000 to buy and may be the proprietary software used for Carnivore.

Another commercial packet sniffer modified for internet surveillance is WireSpeed, which can analyse more than 300 different network types. The WireSpeed analyser, developed by a US corporation, Radcom, was recommended for use in a recent Home Office report, which noted that it was "a major component of another country' s interception solution - it would enable the user to view the content portion(s) of electronic messages".

Industry and civil liberties critics in Britain and the US say that packet-sniffing technology is so powerful and undetectable, that it poses a threat to civil liberties and privacy that could not have existedpreviously. As even the ISP to whose equipment it is connected will not know what it is doing, there can be no means of verifying that surveillance is being limited to what is legally allowed.


i Duncan Campbell is a freelance investigative journalist and not the Guardian's Los Angeles correspondent of the same name.

*** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Feel free to distribute widely but PLEASE acknowledge the source. ***

The end is in the means as the tree is in the seed.

- Mahatma Ghandi


Abraham Lincoln, letter to Wm. F. Elkins Nov. 21 1864 Arthur Shaw ed. The Lincoln Encyclopedia 40 {1950}

"We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing it's end. It has cost a vast amount of treasure and blood.........It has indeed been a trying hour for the Republic, but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong it's reign by working on the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war."

    Top PreviousFront Page

    Date sent: Tue, 25 Jul 2000 13:41:55 +1200
    From: Peace Movement Aotearoa

    Forwarded on behalf of GATT Watchdog

    Police Cybersnooping Proposal Open To Abuse

    Paul Swain's Police Cybersnooping Proposal Open To Abuse

    Media release, 25 July 2000, New Zealand

    Information and Associate Justice Minister Paul Swain's proposed expansion of Police powers to allow them to lawfully intercept emails is wide open to abuse.

    "If approved by Cabinet, this could be used to justify further spying on lawful political organisations and individuals," says GATT Watchdog organiser Aziz Choudry.

    "In May a wide range of groups and organisations endorsed a call for a select committee inquiry into the role of the Police Criminal Intelligence Service's (CIS) surveillance and information-gathering on political organisations and activists. This followed legal cases against the SIS and the Police which found that both agencies had acted unlawfully during operations around the 1996 APEC Trade Ministers Meeting in Christchurch. I understand that the Justice and Electoral Select committee will consider that request after the conclusion of their inquiry into last year's policing operations during Jiang Zemin's visit.

    "The Police's CIS seems to have great trouble distinguishing between lawful political activity and criminal activity in the real world. I fail to see how they will make that distinction in cyberspace."

    "While a host of important concerns remain unaddressed about the role of the CIS, I believe it is particularly inappropriate to be proposing an expansion of Police powers to intercept email communications."

    "Important privacy considerations aside, expanding Police powers to allow the legal interception of emails will give them a carte blanche to spy on the email communications of a wide range of community groups, political organisations, trade unions, and individuals 'of interest' to the CIS because of their political beliefs and sympathies. And recent history suggests that the usual glib official assurances that such organisations and people will not be snooped on by state security and intelligence agencies to be worthless."

    For further comment, ph Aziz Choudry (03) 366 2803

    Peace Movement Aotearoa
    The National Networking Peace Group
    PO Box 9314, Wellington, Aotearoa / New Zealand.
    tel +64 4 382 8129,    fax 382 8173,
    Internet Peace Gateway